Professor Alan Brichta's primary research interest is balance and the vestibular system. His most recent NHMRC-funded research has focused on the efferent branch of the vestibular system – the pathway by which the brain can modulate inner ear sensitivity.
Despite fifty years of ongoing research, the functional purpose of the efferent vestibular system still remains a mystery – most likely due to its inherently complex mechanisms of action. To combat this, Alan has developed a semi-intact model of the vestibular system, which allows for faithful, high-resolution recordings of hair cell function. This recording technique has provided new information about the efferent vestibular system, with particular regards to the novel alpha-9 nicotinic receptor.
Alan has ongoing collaborations with vestibular experts Dr Americo Migliaccio (Neuroscience Research Australia; NeuRA), Dr Joseph Holt (University of Rochester, USA) and Dr Richard Rabbitt (University of Utah, USA), as well as HMRI neuroscientists Professor Bob Callister and Dr Doug Smith. He is also closely affiliated with the Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation (GPRWMF), and the Neuro-Otology Society of Australia (NOTSA). Alan is currently the Head of Discipline (Anatomy), supervises multiple PhD students, and teaches into a number of programs including Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Biomedical Science.
Senior/Principal Fellow, Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation